Critically Evaluate Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as Way of Understanding Employee Motivation in Contemporary Chinese Business

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Critically evaluate Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as way of understanding employee motivation in contemporary Chinese business

Business mangers today are facing two main challenges because of the rapid global economic growth: one is organizational efficiency; the other is the necessity to improve competitive strategies (Wang, 2007). To keep up with this growth, they need to improve productivity to increase enterprise revenue and also invent new technologies or products to expand markets. It is pointed out by Hurst (1995), employee attitudes is a key factor which influence a company’s future success. That is because people’s attitudes decide their behavior (Cooper and Croyle, 1984), therefore, it is of great importance that companies and mangers know what affect employees’ attitudes and motivate them to work hard. However, workers’ needs are complex. To study this, different theories have been raised to analyze people’s motivation; Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is one of these theories. According to Maslow (1954), people’s needs are divided into 5 parts: Physiological, Safety and Security, Belonging (social), Self-esteem and Self-actualization from the bottom and these needs are satisfied step by step. Although his theory is valuable to some extent, it has been pointed out that Maslow’s theory cannot be completely accepted. This essay will evaluate Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and demonstrate that the theory do not fully suit China’s contemporary business model.

Though it has been claimed that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is accepted and can be applied into business, the theory is considered not universally practical and to be general. Fey (2005) states that later researchers like Alderfer (1969) and McClelland (1961) built their own theories based on Maslow’s principle: higher levels of needs become important only when the basic needs have been met. In addition, Herzberg was in agreement with Maslow, he carried on Maslow’s work and developed it into two factor...
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